Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the biggest eSports of the moment, and the second most played game on Steam, being surpassed only by DOTA 2. Not only does this game have a huge worldwide following, but since 2013, it also has a great tradable skin system, which comes with an immense market, making CS:GO both a fun, team-based FPS and a great way of making money while playing.
Even if you’re an avid CS:GO player, or you haven’t even seen gameplay, you must’ve heard at least one “rags-to-riches” story involving a player trading their way up from a cheap skin to a knife. This guide will serve as a starting point for trading newbies.
How does the skin system work?
In order to start making money with CS:GO, you must first know what you’ll be trading. Given that CS:GO is a first-person shooter, it naturally features guns. The Arms Deal Update, which was introduced in 2013 added gun skins, which replace the default look of the gun your character is holding. By playing matches, you earn experience, with which you level up your account. Once per week, when you level up, you receive either a gun skin or a crate. Crates can be opened with keys, which can be bought either in-game or on the Steam Community Market, with their price averaging at $2.5.
A skin has three main factors which influence its worth: the weapon, the rarity and the condition. The weapon is important because you will never see too many expensive skins for lesser used weapons, such as the M249, and because the most expensive and popular skins are the ones for the most popular rifles, such as the AK-47 and the AWP. The rarity refers to the “grade” of the weapon. Grades range from Consumer grade (a white tint in your inventory) to Covert grade (a red tint). This is excluding knives, which are the most expensive weapons in the game, and are considered “Exceedingly rare”. A skin’s condition can range from Battle-Scarred to Factory New, and is decided at random upon receiving the skin. The condition does not deteriorate while using a skin, but skins with worse conditions will be scratched and will have wear marks on them.
Small profit, little to no effort
Most people boasting about their profit in Counter-Strike are referring to lucky skin or crate drops which earned them a bit of money when selling them on the market. In fact, most players quickly recover the money they spent on the game when a new case gets released. Half of the cases released have been exclusive for Operation Pass buyers at first, which involves a six dollar investment. However, if you’re lucky and receive a case on the day it is released, you can double that money easily. Keep in mind that both new case and new skin prices usually go down in price at first, so in most cases you should sell them as soon as you get them.
Getting the real money
Just as with all things in life, if you want success, you need to start working. Getting rich in CS:GO involves using the classic “buy low, sell high” combined with just a bit of luck. Once you have saved a number of skins and your inventory is worth something, you can start trading. What you have to do is go to CS:GO Lounge, sign in, and place a trade, offering your items at your own (profitable, hopefully) prices. There are also other sites of this kind, such as Reddit’s /r/globaloffensivetrade, which has a lot of rules you should carefully read before joining.
Once you’ve set up shop, you can either wait for someone to contact you, or you can use the search for on CS:GO Lounge to search for people who want your skin. Send them a trade offer, asking for skins of a higher value. Do not think that this will net you a lot of profit easily, as not only is this method generally frowned upon, but if you ask for a huge overpay on their behalf you’ll be called a “lowballer” and probably blocked.
When you complete a trade, rinse and repeat with the new weapons.
Many people gamble away their earned skins, as they believe that they will get rich quickly. DO NOT DO THIS. The top posts on the Global Offensive Reddit community right now are about children and others losing thousands of dollars in just a few days. It’s not worth it.
Once you have some valuable skins in your inventory, you might start considering trading them for real money. While that is possible by trading with users, most of the time you are just going to get ripped off. That is why we recommend using a safe site, like OP Skins, on which you can also purchase skins for money. Keep in mind that if you want to cash out, you will never get 100% of the value of your item. At times you may only get 40 dollars for a 60 dollar knife, but it’s definitely better than being scammed.